I always compared myself to others and cared what people thought. I lived outside my skin, energetically clinging to others so I could learn how to be better. Hefty disappointment remained in the aftermath of decades denying my need for self-connection. Underneath my abundantly visible and admittedly scattered online presence, I wanted my life to be quieter. Less cluttered by the opinions of others. Tuned to the frequency of my heart's whispers. But their voices were in my head. Their thumbprint profile pictures and excited comments banked in memory.
I'd stretched myself wire thin trying to deliver the impossible--what I thought people wanted--something no one outside of another can ever really know. The voice of They resided in the space behind my forehead, so every time I wrote a blog, created a post or designed an image . . . it lacked pure intention. I wanted so badly to be seen and admired. I wanted to be popular like I never was in high school.
Some days I'd be frozen with indecision, swaying back and forth between the best way to use my time and what to do first. They separated me from the answer that sat quietly, deeper down, knowing the direction and waiting for me to settle. When I finally turned off my phone, snuggled my cat, sprayed my succulents and drank some water, I could feel the brain fog curling back. My mind opened up like the wet blankets of air burning off into a bright California day. The stress of what They might think lessened, tapering off just enough for me to breathe and type some words.
I'd get in a groove, then They would surface in rocking rumbles of stops and starts, prodding me with doubt, "You have no idea what you're doing. This is never going to work. If you could really make a life of this, it would've happened already. No one takes you seriously." Or They would feed my need-to-please addiction, "People really enjoy when you talk about this. That's what they really want to hear from you. It's not about you, it's about being of service."
"Service" felt like thick gray buildup on my tongue. It stunk of self-sacrifice, a debt to be paid or something owed. I wanted to flip that stale mantra on its ass.
What if service isn't the aim of business or life, rather, the result
of doing what we love the most and comes the easiest?
I teetered on the cusp of testing this theory and a soul-stop of a business breakdown was just the thing to tip me right over the edge. It was a moment in which I knew nothing was working and I had no idea how to change it. I always found this adage a little gross, but it works--How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
And so, my journey back to myself, the heart of inspiration and core of change, began with Social Cleansing.
READ PART 2.